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USDA Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan Resigns

Ag Secretary Vilsack says her service is 'deeply appreciated'

Published on: Mar 15, 2013

USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack Thursday announced the resignation of USDA Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan, praising her service but providing little insight into her departure.

"USDA Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan has helped USDA achieve record results over the past four years. She has played a vital role in the Department-wide focus on the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food initiative, as well as our efforts to achieve budget efficiencies and savings during an uncertain budget time," Vilsack said in a statement. "I deeply appreciate her service, and I wish her all the best in her future endeavors."

Deputy Secretary Merrigan has led USDA's efforts to implement important regulations, and she has been an advocate for the National Organic Program, Vilsack added.

USDA Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan resigns
USDA Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan resigns

According to her official USDA biography, Merrigan in 2009 became the first woman to chair the Ministerial Conference of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Time magazine named Dr. Merrigan among the "100 Most Influential People in the World" in 2010.

Before becoming Deputy Secretary, Merrigan served for eight years as Assistant Professor and Director of the Agriculture, Food and Environment graduate program at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, Boston, Mass. She also served as Administrator of the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service, and for six years as a senior staff member for the Senate Ag Committee, working for Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt.

Vilsack did not indicate a timeline for Merrigan's departure.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    My (farmer) hat's off to Kathleen Merrigan for over 4 years of hard work in a difficult position - As a forth generation small grain farmer of over 4000 acres in Montana, I have seen in my lifetime most of my farmer neighbors disappear and our small town community, businesses and schools shrink in size and numbers while all around me farms are increasing size and continue to become more highly leveraged as they depend more heavily on high priced inputs and big government checks to pay for those inputs - as a wheat farmer, I am alarmed at the bad press and declining trust that Americans now have in the wheat I produce - Deputy Secretary Merrigan, worked tirelessly to reconnect the grocery shoppers to the source of their food (increasing their trust and support of agriculture) as well as worked in many other areas such as helping ease some trade restrictions that had developed between the US and Europe which benefited me directly as a farmer as well as many other farmers throughout the country. She was a voice and advocate of both those who try to make a living raising food as well as those who are eating that food and preparing it for their families. I only hope her replacement will be half the tireless worker and advocate that she was for the entirety of agriculture. Thank you Dr. Kathleen Merrigan for all your efforts and a job well done - a grateful farmer in Montana - Bob Quinn

  2. Anonymous says:

    Thank God she is leaving! what they don't tell you is that she was partly responsible for ending food safety programs, and she caused more bureaucratic paperwork and red tape. Let's hope they don't replace her and keep the budget down. Her leaving won't be noticed

  3. Shelley says:

    Did sequestration do in this tax and spend liberal? From "know your farmer, know your food" to "know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em". Good riddance to a hobby farmer program spendthrift. Good on sequestration if that helped her out the door.